OAKLAND — After the news they were processing as they took the field Thursday night, maybe A’s players had this one coming to them.
Khris Davis’ bloop two-run single dropped in center field to score two runs and lift the A’s to a walk-off 8-7 victory over the New York Yankees.
The A’s let four different leads slip away in a game that went nearly four-and-a-half hours. They eventually won it by using the reverse formula — fall behind and then rally for a comeback to snap a three-game losing streak.
The A’s were down to their last out when Rajai Davis singled. Chad Pinder doubled and Jed Lowrie was intentionally walked. That brought up Davis, who hit a blooper into shallow center fielder. Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro almost pulled it in but the ball glanced off his glove and Davis and Pinder scored the tying and winning runs.
On Thursday afternoon, longtime A’s pitching coach Curt Young was let go in a surprise move and veteran third baseman Trevor Plouffe — a popular clubhouse presence — was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for young third baseman Matt Chapman.
Oakland jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Yankees came back to tie it.
The A’s went back up 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth. New York answered in the top of the seventh. Chad Pinder’s RBI single made it 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh. You can guess by now what happened in the top of the eighth.
Then Matt Joyce beat out a fielder’s choice grounder with the bases loaded with Yankees closer Dellin Betances on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, only to have Gary Sanchez knot the game once gain with a tying single off Santiago Casilla.
Here’s five things you need to know from Thursday’s game:
Chapman’s debut is a mixed bag: The A’s are ready to give their No. 3 prospect a chance to establish himself as their starting third baseman. He batted seventh in his major league debut and drew two walks as part of an 0-for-3 night. He drew a free pass in his first plate appearance and came around to score his first run on Adam Rosales’ two-run double. There was little action that came his way in the field. He fielded Aaron Judge’s grounder and whipped a strong throw across the diamond to retire him in the seventh . Chapman made a cameo on the mound while playing for Team USA in his college days and hit the high 90’s with his fastball. The rookie had a chance to be a hero in the ninth, batting with the bases loaded and two outs, but he went down on three pitches against Dellin Betances, and the game went to extras.
Judge has a quiet night: In his first game at the Coliseum, Northern California native (and Triple Crown contender) Aaron Judge struck out three times against Oakland as part of his 1-for-4 game. The Yankees right fielder drew quite a cheering section for batting practice, and he parked at least two tape-measure drives into the second deck in left, over a row of luxury suites.
Getting it right vs. lefties: Yonder Alonso’s 17th homer came on a 2-0 pitch from Jordan Montgomery in the sixth. Alonso is just 8-for-35(.229) against lefties this season, but six of those eight are for extra-base hits, including four homers.
Big inning bites Sonny again: When trouble hits for Sonny Gray, it tends to strike quickly. He blanked the Yankees over the first five innings before New York scored three and chased him in the sixth to tie it 3-3. It was the third start in a row in which Gray has allowed three runs in the sixth. Before that, Cleveland got to him for four in the fourth and three in the third back on May 30. The right-hander went 5 1/3 innings Thursday and gave up three runs on eight hits, walking three and running his pitch count to 100 by the time he exited in the sixth.
A’s stung by an old nemesis: Remember Chris Carter? The former Athletic always seems to hurt his old team. He homered off John Axford to tie it 5-5. The slugger has 13 home runs and 42 RBI in 58 career games against Oakland.